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Posted: April 26, 2008 3:10 a.m.
Updated: June 27, 2008 5:02 a.m.

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Trevor Bauer isn't your typical No. 2 high school starter.

Even on a day when he didn't have his best stuff, the junior threw a season high 108 pitches, struck out nine and earned his ninth win of the season in a 7-5 win over Saugus.

An ace in his own right, Bauer plays the Robin role for Hart's baseball team because senior southpaw Michael Montgomery is a unique talent and Bauer has no qualms about it. Having Montgomery go on Wednesdays can sometimes take the pressure off, he said.

The 1-2 punch of Montgomery and Bauer have put Hart (17-5, 10-1) in control of their own destiny for the Foothill League title with four games remaining.

"Those guys are as good as it gets," said Saugus coach John Maggiora.

After giving up two runs in the bottom of the first inning, Bauer cruised through the middle innings until Saugus' bats came alive with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.

Down 5-2, senior Nick Kopacka drove home junior Zachary Vincej with a single up the middle. Darren Schweitzer followed with an RBI double down the right field line and junior Brett Piper reached on an error that allowed Schweitzer to score and tie the game.

"Gotta give them credit that they didn't roll over and they came back and battled us and that's the mark of a good team," said Hart coach Jim Ozella. "I was a little disappointed that we didn't put them away when we had the chance to kind of bury them."

Having lost just one league game this season, Hart refused to cave in after blowing a three run lead.

Devin Rodriguez pulled a Corey Scott offering down the right field line scoring Danny Susdorf, and Trevor Matern's RBI single up the middle gave Hart a 7-5 lead in the top of the seventh.

"We just fight," Bauer said. "We've got a lot of guys that go out there in big situations, they are big time players and they step up. With the pitching staff we have, we're going to be in a lot of games."

Despite nearing the century mark on his pitch count and coming off a tough inning, Bauer re-emerged out of the Hart dugout and promptly retired the side 1-2-3 in the seventh, going complete for the fourth time this season. With a hard fastball and a nasty curve, Bauer kept Saugus off balance the majority of the night. Sporting an 0.69 ERA and a .123 batting average against coming into the game, giving up five runs on seven hits was not one of the better statistical performances of the season. When it came to crunch time, though, Bauer settled down and fell back into his groove.

"They hit good pitches in the sixth and I tried to hit my spots a little better, be more sharp on the breaking stuff, just trying to get a win at that point," Bauer said.

Bauer got some defensive help as well.

Center fielder Trevor Brown extended his body and made a leaping catch in the bottom of the fifth inning, preventing an extra base hit.

"He really saved me on that one," Bauer said.

Hart has now won their last five games after having 11 days off to think about a 5-4 non league loss to Banning in the Redondo Tournament. Before a practice during that dead period, the Indians gathered around Ozella and talked about winning the rest of their league games. With five already down and four more to go, Bauer said the meeting refocused the team's energy on the original goal. The last league title came back in 2001.

"We haven't done that in a long time so that's our goal right now," Bauer said.

Though Saugus (14-8, 7-4) was swept, Maggiora was encouraged by his team's progress. In both Wednesday's 4-3 loss and Friday's 7-5 loss, the Centurions hung tough.

"To get five runs off of a Bauer, that's a good thing. Most times you're going to win a game there," he said.

Saugus clings to a one-game lead over West Ranch for the third and final playoff spot. The two teams will not meet again this year.

"We're in a good spot, we control what we have to do," Maggiora said.

Hart has a one-game lead on Valencia in the standings.

Bauer couldn't put a finger on how to describe the season, but if it's anything like Hart's two starters, tough may be the word.

"I don't know how to characterize us, but we know how to win games," Bauer said.


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